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Support for computer-aided design data has been of increasing interest to database system architects. In this survey, we concentrate on one aspect of such support, namely version modeling, i.e., how best to describe the structure of a complex design artifact as it evolves across its multiple representations and over time. An operational model is also needed to describe how artifact descriptions are created and modified. While there has been much work in proposing new models and mechanisms for supporting version concepts in a database, it is our purpose not merely to describe such proposals but to attempt to unify them. It is not our goal to propose yet another model, but rather to provide a common terminology and a common collection of mechanisms that should underlie all version models. The key remaining challenge is to construct a single framework, based on these mechanisms, which can be tailored for the needs of a given version environment.

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